Distance Round Trip: 7 km
Time: 2.5 hours
Elevation gained: 1096 ft
Season: Spring-Early Autumn
WHAT TO BRING
The weather is rather unpredictable, and bringing a rain jacket or poncho is recommended. Snacks, or a bagged lunch, water (of course!), sunscreen, and bug spray are also essentials. We were bitten by mosquitoes despite our precautions. Bringing cash or a credit card that works internationally is also recommended. The ferry only took credit cards, or the local currency (the Norwegian krone). Checking for ticks, post-hike, is also recommended (fortunately we didn’t encounter any, but they do exist in Norway).
So we have a “bucket list” of hikes that we want to complete within our lifetime. As we looked at our travel itinerary, we learned that Stavanger, Norway has a hike that should be on everyone’s bucket list. It immediately went to the top of ours. “Preikestolen” (Pulpit Rock, in English), is a cliff that rises up from a fjord. It is over 600 meters high, and on top of the cliff the rock is flat, making a huge plateau that you can sit on while overlooking the fjord. We were incredibly blessed to get to go on this hike. It takes 2-2.5 hours each way, about seven kilometres round trip. Getting there, we debarked the ship, walked to the ferry, took a 45 minute ferry ride, and then took a bus up to the trailhead.
Extremely green, and with foliage similar to Canada, the hike reminded us of hiking in the mountains back home. The ground was stone – mostly large, flat slabs of it. The hike started out very steep, and alternated between very steep stretches, and flat plateaus. We found ourselves stuck going at the pace of the many people in front of us, and then running to get ahead when the path widened. Pulpit Rock has become a popular destination for tourists, which lead to an improvement project that was completed a few years ago. We could see the evidence of this project in boardwalks along more narrow parts of the path, which alleviated bottlenecks.
At the summit of the hike we had a snack, and took photos. It was perfect hiking weather. It was sunny and surprisingly warm, though not hot by any stretch. In fact, in spite of my usual precautions, I came home with a sunburn on my chest. The cloud cover and cool breeze shouldn’t have made me any less wary than they usually do, but the consistent cold in the Baltics caused me to let my guard down. So let that be a warning to all of my fellow melanin challenged friends – don’t skimp on the sunscreen, even with the cloud cover!
The hike down would be a challenge for anyone with knee or joint problems. Steep and rocky doesn’t make for an easy trek down, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Upon reaching the trailhead, we got a quick bite in the cafe at the base of the hike, before boarding the bus that returned us to the ferry. “Pulpit Rock” earned it’s place on our bucket list, and crossing it off felt like a most worthy feat.